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cuisinart. >> caught on air, disaster in japan, 11:00 p.m. eastern eastern on msnbc. you can have the last word online at our blog, and follow my tweets at lawrence. "the rachel maddow show" is up next. sitting in tonight, chris haze. good evening. >> good evening. thank you for staying with us the next hour. rachel has the night off. the nuclear crisis in japan is still volatile tonight. there have been numerous developments today. we'll get to those shortly. we begin with something you should never have to ask, something that should never be a question. are we at war?
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yes, we are at war in iraq and afghanistan, and maybe sort of in pakistan as well. but are we at war again in another middle eastern country? it is not a provocative rhetorical question, it is one so-called no fly zone over libya and to take all necessary measures to protect civilians under attack. faced with threat from moammar gadhafi of a massacre of his own civilians, united nations approved military action against libya, which is a big fricking deal. for us, for the united nations, for the region. yet what made last night so eery and strange was that this big, historical moment, this commitment by a number of nations to use force, fell into the american political conversation like a pebble into a well. we just committed ourselves to military intervention in the most volatile area in the world and there was hardly a peep from anyone. congress was in recess. there were no official statements in my inbox. not even president obama says anything live. it seemed like we declared war and no one bothered to notice. then finally today the president did give a statement after meeting with 18 congressional
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leaders. >> the united states, the united kingdom, france and arab states agree that a ceasefire must be implemented immediately. that means all attacks against civilians must stop. gadhafi must stop his troops from advancing on benghazi, pull them back and establish water, electricity and gas supplies to all areas. humanitarian assistance must be allowed to reach people of libya. >> those are the president's demands. that's where he decided to draw the line. gadhafi must pull back his forces from rebel controlled towns in the east, reconnect water, electricity and gas supplies, and allow humanitarian assistance into libya. full stop. now, that seemed fairly clear. except one of the allies in the
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endeavor seems to have a completely different set of goals. in the house of commons today, the british prime minister said, quote, it is almost impossible to envis aj a future for libya that includes gadhafi. in other words, regime change. adding to confusion was just what enforcement of a no fly zone would mean for the united states. >> if gadhafi does not comply with the resolution, the international community will impose consequences, and the resolution will be enforced through military action. >> the resolution will be enforced through military action. but what kind of military action? one thing we know for sure is it will not involve ground troops. united nations revolution says as much and the president reiterated that today. >> the united states is not going to deploy ground troops into libya. and we are not going to use force to go beyond a well defined goal, specifically the protection of civilians in
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libya. >> it wasn't until an anonymous staffer explained it further that we had any sort of idea just what the american military was being tasked with. quote, he, meaning the president, had not authorized troops on the ground or airplanes. he stressed the u.s. is diplomatically supporting the no-fly zone, not the enforcement itself. no american troops on the ground, no american planes, no enforcement itself, that's what we know. what we don't know is a lot bigger. joining us now, eugene robinson, pulitzer prize winning columnist for "the washington post." thanks for being here. >> good evening, chris. >> what do you make of president obama's remarks on libya today? are we now at war? was that the communication? even coming away from it, i had a hard time answering that question for myself. >> when i heard the president's speech, i thought gee, we might be, and here is why. he said very clearly that as far
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as he's concerned and the united states is concerned, gadhafi has lost the legitimacy to lead. he forfeited the right to be president of libya, and he set these demands, gadhafi has to stop, he has to withdraw, these are not negotiable and there will be consequences. so that to me says we are going to use force to make gadhafi do what we want him to do. >> and of course, if he doesn't do what we want him to do, we will get into that more in a bit. in terms of the politics and sort of the constitutional basis of all of this, connecticut congressman issued a statement urging the president to seek congressional approval before committing u.s. forces. do you think we will see more of those calls or is congress not only on recess but checked out on this? >> congress has been checked out on this for about 100 years, chris. we are going to -- yes, we are going to hear more individual congressmen and congress women
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saying the president should have consulted, the constitution gives congress the power to declare war. however, presidents, the last umpteen presidents have asserted the authority as commander in chief to deploy u.s. forces in these kinds of situations without a formal declaration of war. i can't imagine a president of either party who is going to take office, then disavow that vast power, and certainly not president obama. and i don't think congress is in the mood to assert this right granted by the constitution, nor do i think the current supreme court would enforce the constitution's apparent designation of congress as the war-declaring body. >> do you think -- it occurred to me today, trying to sort through this, that ten years into the war on terror, there has been such a cascade of military engagements large, like iraq and afghanistan, but also small. we have strikes in pakistan, strikes in yemen.
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we have other countries in which we have special forces operating. i wonder if you think that is part of the sort of casualness with which this entire enterprise is in the plig situation. >> you think there's a certain intervention fatigue that has set in, made is blase? maybe that's true. remember before the war on terror, there was the cold war where we were involved in various regional and local conflicts all around the globe, so it actually has been quite a long time that the united states has been accustomed to these kinds of interventions, and i think people have become kind of enyoured to that. >> eugene robinson, thanks so much for joining us. have a great weekend. >> you too, chris. >> not only is it unclear what we are doing in libya, it is
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unclear what the libyans are doing. earlier today, gadhafi regime said they were calling for a ceasefire, and barely missing a beat we got reports that gadhafi loyalists were still launching attacks in eastern cities, including the rebel strong hold of benghazi. today, the american ambassador to the u.n. said he was in clear violation of the un resolution, which means what exactly? what's next. joining us now, colonel jack jacobs. thanks for joining us. >> good to be here. >> let's start with the no fly zone. people have a conception that it is a set, rigid thing you impose. what does that mean and what are the terms, how set are they? >> they are quite set. it is not that difficult to explain. it is a box in which you are not allowed to fly, and we control whether or not you fly in from. the thing to keep in mind though, it is not just a box in two dimensions, it is three dimensions which means it could be a million cubic miles.
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even with today's technology, it is difficult to police. >> there is talk that there's a conference tomorrow saturday in france, there were some reports today about expecting to see military action after saturday. but it seems like if things keep going on now, how long do we know -- is it possible that we declare this, then actually it is not even effective? >> the short answer is yes. it has sort of already been declared as the u.n. resolution of 1973 yesterday, but you have to establish it. and in order to establish a no fly zone, you have to nail all of gadhafi's anti-aircraft sites and there are lots of them. we are talking about six sites that can fly surface to air missiles that can knock down airplanes, and ground based anti-aircraft and all of that. that can only be done at a distance, unless you want to put airplanes at risk, and nobody among the allies is willing to do that.
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likelihood, they will be hit by long range missiles, cruise missiles. but you can't establish a no fly zone without making the area safe. >> there's a trade off, however you are from targ gets and accuracy? >> we have fairly accurate weapons. you have to punch in a ten digit grid core accurate down to a meter or so, we can knock them out, that's no problem, but there are lots of them. and we don't know where all of them are. we have a great deficiency in intelligence. while we may knock out some or most of them, we will not have knocked down all of them, and mobile, too. that's difficult as well. that's always a threat. >> let's game out some situations. >> sure. >> part of what seems worry some about the intervention and compelling as the humanitarian case was, we were watching the residents of benghazi. >> still is. >> right, and still is. let's say gadhafi says okay, fine. i am stopping where i am, and benghazi stays as is. what next? >> well, i think you just
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described the end game. gadhafi has two choices. he can either carry on or blow everybody away, in which case he will probably lose some or all military establishment, but in the end there won't be any rebel force to take over. in the alternative, he can stop what he is doing right now and leave sort of a rump, bunch of rebels sitting there with nothing to do, no place to go, no arms, no ammunition, no leadership, no objectives, and he can wait them out. in the end, our waiting until now, until a time there's almost nobody left of the rebels to fight, gadhafi has won. in the end it doesn't matter what we do or gadhafi does, he is actually -- let me put it this way, the rebels have lost, and maybe gadhafi haven't won, but the rebels have lost. >> when you say the rebels have lost, when i was reading yesterday on this, it seemed the
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gap bet was by declaring this, to reprecipitate crumbling of the regime, to get people to defect when they saw the muscle of international forces that the regime was fall in on it self. what you're saying, if he calls that bluff. >> he wins. i mean, he's called that bluff. we already said you're not allowed to keep shooting at civilians, and if you keep doing that, we're coming after you. he is continuing to shoot at civilians. i don't think he is going to stop and i don't think our or anybody else saying he should stop will make him stop. in the end, he dessimated the rebels, put them in a difficult position from which i think it will be difficult for them to come back. it is a tough time for the rebels. >> we had no fly zones before, famously the one in northern iraq, one in the south of iraq, then in the balkans. how is the record of no fly zones. for my record, it is mixed in how effective it is, in
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prosecuting intended purpose. >> the record is very good at keeping people from flying around in a no fly zone. you knock out the anti-aircraft capability, knock out command and control and communications capability and you knock out the air fields. the end of air strikes. that doesn't necessarily mean the good guys are going to win. indeed, the rebels are so bereft of leadership and weapons they are not likely to win, even absent gadhafi's capability to pommel them with artillery and aircraft. and you're absolutely right. no fly zones are pretty good at stopping flying, not necessarily been very good at stopping the bad guys from winning. >> concern he will jack jake ons, military analyst for msnbc. >> more with richard engel next. just ahead. the latest on the nuclear disaster in japan. please stay with us. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 like it's some kind of dream.
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east, gadhafi is determined he will not likely lose libya. in yemen today, at least 45 people were killed when the government used security forces and plain clothes policemen and snipers to pick off peaceful protesters outside a university. a doctor treating the wounded saying they shot people in the head as they were running away. whoever did this wanted people to die. yemen's president now declared a state of emergency, while our own president reiterated his call on stopping the violence. in bahrain, three days after saudi forces joined the fight against the protesters, bahraini protesters destroyed the focal point of anti-government demonstrations, pulling down an iconic statue, tearing up the grass. hundreds of protesters had been staying at the roundabout until security forces using live ammunition drove them out wednesday. three demonstrators were killed
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in that action, dozens more wounded as troops reportedly blocked off access to hospitals, too. syria saw the biggest protests in years. anti-government demonstrators took to the streets, the largest gathering in a southern city. protesters were attacked by security forces. witnesses saying at least five people were killed and hundreds injured. i am joined now by nbc chief foreign correspondent richard engel in cairo tonight. hello there, richard. >> reporter: good to talk to you, chris. >> so my first question is, is this counter offensive that we're seeing by the regimes across the middle east working? i mean, it seems like we have this kind of arab spring and this amazing upwelg of nonviolent resistance, now we seem to be the lesson from libya to bahrain to syria is to just crackdown. do you think the regimes are
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winning at this point? >> reporter: i think the arab regimes learned there are two approaches. you can either try and buy off the opposition. we saw saudi arabia doing that, offering billions of dollars in economic incentives, including extra jobs in the interior ministry, welfare benefits for the unemployed. so gulf states that have the money like saudi arabia have been trying to buy off the opposition. the other approach has been to use brutal force, like gadhafi has been doing, like yemen has been doing. yemen is a poor country, doesn't have billions in cash to buy off the opposition. and what bahrain has been doing because it has a delicate sectarian conflict as well, even though bahrain does have the cash, it doesn't want this opposition movement to go any further. two approaches. buy them off or crush them. and these are lessons, because egypt and tunesia didn't do either of these. egypt and tunesia didn't seem to
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know how to react, and both of those governments lost power. >> richard, i want to play you some of what president obama said about why international action is being taken against gadhafi today. >> instead of respecting the rights of his own people, gadhafi chose the path of brutal suppression. innocent civilians were beaten, imprisoned, and in some cases killed. people's protests were forcefully put down. hospitals were attacked and patients disappeared. a campaign of intimidation and repression began. >> that does not sound like it is unique to libya, perhaps in severity, but a lot of this we have seen in yemen, bahrain, syria. why is it that those countries don't fit into the same criteria for international action after the actions we have seen from
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united nations yesterday? >> reporter: there are certainly interests involved. the u.s. keeps troops in bahrain, a fleet. but what we've seen coming from libya is not just worse in terms of scale, it is also much worse in terms of severity. yes, there has been a violent crackdown in bahrain recently, but for four decades there has been systemic repression by gadhafi's regime. there has been use of international terrorism. there has been the systemic use of torture, and people -- i have spoken to people who came out of the prison in libya and just described absolutely shocking and horrifying kinds of treatment and conditions. yes, bahrain has chosen to use force to stop this demonstration, but bahrain is not libya, and i don't think you can make that equivalency. >> the government used snipers,
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targeting protesters for execution. the crackdown we saw was peaceful students, seemed quite brutal. and yet the american government has a very close counter-terrorism relationship in terms of arms and training and money. how does that affect the relationship we have in terms of what we are willing to say about the actions today in yemen? >> reporter: i think what happened in yemen today is much more troubling, and u.s. counter-terrorism officials are very upset about what happened in yemen when protesters went out into the streets and were attacked from rooftops apparently by members of the security forces in plain clothes. the president from yemen went on national television and said his police forces didn't fire a single shot, and that these were simply protesters who angered
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the citizens of yemen who then took the law into their own hands. but if what happened today continues in yemen, i think we could see a definite cooling of relations between the u.s. government and yemen. what happened today surprised many u.s. officials who want to work with yemen and weren't expecting this kind of brutality. >> finally, i want to ask you about the protests in syria. they seem important for two reasons. we haven't seen this kind of mass mobilization in syria yet, and second of all, i thought was striking amidst the crackdown, now that the stakes of violence have been so sort of horrifically illustrated for people in the region that there was still quite a large mass mobilization in syria. i wonder what you think that auger is there? >> reporter: i think that was very significant, and underreported to a degree. syria has a very effective
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security force, and the people of syria who want to go out and protest have not been able to do so, and the fact that they were able to gather today in relatively large numbers, that there were clashes significant enough that at least four people were killed in the violence could be a sign that syria could see much wider problems to come. and syria has been conspicuously quiet until now, and we'll see if it remains so. syria in many ways does share some characteristics similar to tunesia and to egypt where you have a ruling family running a police state over a population that is well educated and cosmopolitan and is yearning for more openness and more access to the international community. so a lot of people in the middle east have been expecting to see more from syria, and today we
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saw the first hints of what might be to come, if the people can get through, crack through the thick armor of the security services. >> richard engel, thank you very much for your work, as always. >> reporter: my pleasure. we will pivot to the other biggest story in the world, the nuclear disaster in japan in a minute. first, one more thing about libya. the government there says it will release four "the new york times" journalists. the times bureau chief, a photo journalist, disappeared tuesday. this is the last known picture of them. gadhafi's son today said that the army arrested miss adar i don't see because she was a foreigner, then found out she was american, not european, and thanks to that, she will be free tomorrow. libyan government leader
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elaborated on that saying all four journalists will be freed today. but there's still no word on whether they have been. we'll be right back. >> it brings your best minds and their brightest ideas together. it helps the largest of companies seize opportunity like the smallest of startups. it's the network-- the intelligent, secure cisco network that lets your employees, partners, suppliers and customers innovate and share so you can unleash the power of your most valuable asset: your people. [ male announcer ] if you have type 2 diabetes, you struggle to control your blood sugar. you exercise and eat right, but your blood sugar may still be high, and you need extra help. ask your doctor about onglyza, a once daily medicine used with diet and exercise to control high blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes. adding onglyza to your current oral medicine
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they will do their duty because somebody must go into the fukushima plant, somebody must risk the radiation to try to ensure disaster does not become a catastrophe. the firemen who volunteered were
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sent off with due ceremony. their work will be dangerous, but so little is known about what's happening in fukushima that no one knows how dangerous. water is being sprayed from high pressure hoses towards the damaged reactors. but with little way of knowing if this is effective in cooling them. the japanese are categorizing it as level five on a scale of seven, up from level four. the head of the world's top nuclear agency tells me that doesn't necessarily mean that things are still deteriorating. >> everything that's happening now at the fukushima daiichi plant, everything being attempted to cool down the spent fuel pods, all that is only happening because of those men who volunteered for what might be the most hazardous assignment of their careers. these are firefighters, guys that are trained to run into burning buildings. no one knows how dangerous the situation at fukushima is right
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now, but there are signs. one important clue is this article from a japanese newspaper which reports that on monday the power company that owns the nuclear plant, tepco, wanted to withdraw all of its workers from fukushima. the company told the japanese government that it was too dangerous to keep workers at the plant and it is believed that tepco was prepared to let japan's self defense forces and the u.s. military handle the situation instead. that, of course, didn't happen, because japan's prime minister said no, reportedly telling the company, quote, this is not a matter of tepco going under, it is about what will become of japan. in other words, we're not worrying about saving your business, we're worried about saving the nation. so right now, tepco employees, not company executives, they are back in tokyo, tepco rank and file employees are working, joined by self defense forces and volunteers like the firefighters.
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because of their effort, tepco said today it has now connected an external power line to the stricken plant. the line will first supply reactor two, because it is not as damaged. power was of course knocked out a week ago in last friday's earthquake. the backup generators that run on diesel were flooded one our later by the tsunami. so getting power restored, power that could potentially run a cooling system, would seem to be a significant step, because ultimately if restoring all of the cooling systems in every one of the reactors has to be the goal. spring water on spent fuel pools which are reportedly damaged can only do so much. it is probably providing some immediate cooling relief, but you can't keep shooting water at the reactors forever. or if not forever, for the multiple years it takes before the fuel rods are safe enough to be taken out of the pools and put into dry storage. so what can be done as a lat
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>> to make sure the motors are in working order when they connect with the power is something we are keeping our fingers crossed, but it is not assured. >> just so we are clear, this is a two step process. power is a necessary precondition, necessary but not efficient. you need that to hook up the power to get the cooling system running, the cooling system requires hydraulics that requires water where the spent fuel rods sit? >> that's right. there's also a danger we know hydrogen accumulated in parts of the plant when you turn on electrical equipment, there may
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be sparks, and that could potentially precipitate another explosion. so it is a risky business. >> the other piece of news that came out today we touched in the opening, the plume of radiation that has touched california. this has been on the news and in various places, and rachel has been very strong about what this means. i guess my question is should people in california start freaking out? >> i have to say the answer is no. it's just this is a terrible accident, no doubt about it. but i still believe that the distance across the ocean is going to be sufficient to dilute the plume so people will not be in immediate risk. they have detected low levels of contamination, but the instruments are very sensitive. that would be expected. >> by low levels, less than you get in things like a cat scan, going on an airplane? >> much less. >> much less. orders of magnitude. >> even after chernobyl, which
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is still probably ten times as much has been now released, no one in the united states got more than a fraction of that background. >> finally, in terms of thinking of this, where this plant ends up, how it is brought to heal or contain, what do you make of talk about this kind of sar could have gus solution, does that seem feasible, is that something you can do while simultaneously bringing things under control or do you have to essentially wait until you reestablish some order before you can bury the whole thing? >> yes. i think there's somewhat of a misconception. chernobyl, they tried to dump sand on the reactor because the roof was gone, and there was a graphite fire. they were trying to extinguish the fire. turns out a lot of sand didn't miss the mark, and the fire burned itself out. they even had to stop dumping it, because they were afraid they may affect structural
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integrity of the core, what's left in the structural integrity of the core. so i don't think it is a simple matter to dump a heavy material like sand to try to cover the spent fuel pools where you might well cause a worse situation. >> so the way forward remains attempting to continue to cool the spent fuel pool. that is the priority and get power up and ultimately the cooling system running so they can take care of the job? >> that would be the goal, to transition to cold shut down state and wait until the decay of the material takes care of the problem itself. then it will be a cleanup mess like the world's probably never seen. >> ed lyman from concerned scientists. thanks for coming in. >> thanks. >> amidst all that's happening there, it is all to easy to forget about what happened on
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the coast. not tonight. nhk reported a survivor was pulled from the rubble in miyagi prefecture. the young man managed to hang on eight days before being rescued. incredible. when we come back, the real question of whether a nuclear plant in central california could withstand a japanese size earthquake. disturbing known unknowns next. [ female announcer ] you use the healing power of touch every day.
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for relief you can feel precisely where you need it most. precise. only from the makers of tylenol. in nuclear power, coal mining or other things, there is no such thing as perfect safety. the goal is to design systems that fall within an acceptable level of risk. you decide what the acceptable level of risk is and work within those parameters. everything that falls outside that scope, you hope that stuff never happens. it is better than hoping, right? i mean favorability is on your side. although it doesn't always work out that way. the fukushima daiichi plant was undoubtedly engineered to withstand earthquake, probably even engineered to protect against earthquake followed by tsunami. japanese gave us the word tsunami.
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no one thought a tsunami would flood the plant, otherwise they wouldn't have put the backup generators in the basement. when you look at the cascade of problems in japan, the idea that flood waters may render generators inoperable is outside the parameters of how the plant was designed. either a risk they never planned for or acceptable. this is not at all unusual. this is how almost everything is designed. all week long, as the nuclear disaster is unfolding, officials and politicians have been offering ainsurances that nuclear plants in the united states are fine. they've been designed to withstand major earthquakes. in california, when the diablo canyon nuclear plant near san louie oh business poe was near a fault line, it did not have to have earthquake response plan as a condition of getting the license from the federal regulators. if that sounds crazy to you, it also sounded nuts to local activists and lawyers who sued the nuclear regulatory
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commission to try to get it to require more planning from diablo planning folks before the plant went online. the case made it to the u.s. court of appeals in washington, d.c., where a 5-4 majority, that included now supreme court justice scalia ruled that earthquakes did not have to be included in the emergency response plan, and that was that, until this week, until an earthquake and tsunami on the other side of the pacific made an earthquake response plan look like a pretty good thing to have. a spokesman for pacific gas and electric, the company that runs diablo canyon, says they do have an earthquake procedure plan, it was implemented during an earthquake in 2003. a company report also said the plant could safely withstand a magnitude 6.5 earthquake on the fault that's less than a mile away. of course, the north ridge earthquake that was fewer than 150 miles away was a magnitude 6.7 the san francisco earthquake
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before that, 6.9, which you will note are higher than 6.5, and not very far away or very long ago. all took on added urgency today. this morning, we learned for 18 months workers at diablo canyon did not realize the system to pump water into the reactors in an emergency wasn't working. for 18 months. no one that worked there even realized it. spokesman for pacific gas and electric told nbc news that operators have procedure in place to operate valves manually. the plant always remained in safe condition. that's a hard thing to do, to figure out if the unimaginable or inconceivable or historically unprecedented will happen. when the stakes are nuclear power plants on major fault lines, those limitations on our ability to calculate risk becomes very problematic.
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precisely one week ago, republican governor walker signed into law his now infamous union stripping bill in wisconsin and took a victory lap for the cameras. celebration was short-lived, however. a day after governor walker's big win came this, a reply at the capitol, tens of thousands of people turned out to protest the bill. protesters followed to picket him at a republican invitation only fund-raiser saturday and again wednesday in an event outside green bay. an effort to recall 8 senators for that bill is well under way. while governor walker isn't eligible for recall yet, they are already handing out recall scott walker bumper stickers for when the time goes. when the fight was first getting going, governor walker claimed he was standing firm on this union stripping bill because he was stand white gold the taxpayers, and they, the
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taxpayers of wisconsin, supported him. they were to use an old phrase a silent majority. you couldn't hear them because they weren't protesting. >> more than 8,000 e-mails we got today, majority tell us to strong, stand with the taxpayers. since midnight last night we've gotten nearly 19,000 e-mails to this office alone. the majority of those have been people in favor of what we're proposing. i'll make sure the taxpayers of this state are heard and their voices aren't ground out by those circling the capitol. >> the folks at the associated press didn't want to just take governor walker's word on the supposed e-mails from the taxpayers so asked to see them. when they never heard back they had some lawyers ask to see them. finally today governor walker handed over to the a.p. e-mails from the wisconsin residents which the a.p. describes as providing the first glimpse of the extent of public support walker said he was receiving
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from wisconsin residents via e-mail for the proposal as well as extensive opposition that he generally downplayed. the a.p. did find an e-mail from a couple urging mr. walker to stay firm but it sure doesn't sound like they found a ground swell of support from the silent majority governor walker described. quote, an initial review found a mass e-mail walker sent to state workers on february 11th the day he introduced his proposal thanking them for his service was met with a deluge of responses, many of them angry. one woman who identified herself as a state prison sergeant wrote in capital letters why are you trying to take what we have worked so hard for? we all have families and children of our own to feed. times are hard enough with the economy the way it is. so if you're scott walker your big victory is starting to look a bit pooric. protesters wherever you turn, a public airing of all the e-mails you've been getting and to top it off today a smackdown from a judge.
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a wisconsin judge temporarily blocked governor walker's union-stripping law from taking effect based on procedural objections. the state's republican attorney general says he will appeal the ruling. as the fight over wisconsin's union stripping bill moves forward our next guest has fascinating reporting on what it will mean for workers in the state and how the playbook scott walker is running is being used all over the country right now. our guest is a pulitzer prize winning journalist and teaches at syracuse university. he authored the book "free lunch." thanks so much for your time. >> thank you. >> you looked in depth. there is a union stripping bill but also the budget walker proposed. you have come across a document produced at the university of wisconsin stevens point that shows the distributional effects on actual public employees. what do they show? >> they show that the less you make the worse off you are under the governor's plan. if you are a janitor making $22,000 a year, you're going to
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have 12.6% of your additionally taken out of your check but if you are a professor who makes almost three times as much you'll have only 6% taken out of your pay. this is a classic regressive move where the further down on the income ladder you are, the worse off you are. >> why would he structure it this way? >> well, he may not have thought about it is one possibility but the decision on how they're doing the health care plan is the key to this. basically everybody is going to be paying the same regardless of their income. >> ah. >> and that's the reason you get this waiting at the bottom. who are the people most likely to be in need of health care? we know they're lower paid workers. >> we're not talking about tax -- we're talking about actual employees if the cuts, the contribution changes, the compensation changes go through, that walker has proposed, you're worse off as a janitor than you are if you are a university professor at, say, madison? >> absolutely.
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much worse off. by the way, this school, stevens point, is the lowest paid university of the wisconsin system and it's almost at the bottom of the 33 or so comparable public colleges in the midwest. >> i want to zoom this out for a second because we've seen in a lot of states elected republican governors, the combination of austerity, cuts, cuts to the compensation packages for public workers. at the same time we've seen corporate tax breaks put into place. what do you make of that? you've been covering taxes for 15 years at least. what do you make of what you're seeing in the states right now in terms of those two trends happening simultaneously? >> chris, there is a very clear pattern taking place. you can see it in the number of the states. michigan, wisconsin, ohio, and that is you give tax favors to the wealthiest residents, cut their taxes, cut corporate taxes, and raise taxes on the people at the bottom.
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the increased tax rate for the poorest families in michigan is ten times the increased rate for the wealthiest in michigan. we now have a situation in which nine states including oregon, ohio, and rhode island, collect more money from state lotteries than the corporate income tax. for every dollar in oregon that they collect in corporate income tax they get $1.20 from the l lottery and they expect that to continue far into the future. >> david cay johnston, a font of knowledge and information. thanks so much for your time tonight. >> thank you. after a very long week of some of the most stressful news in quite sometime, tonight something to look forward to. exactly what that is, when we come back. when i grow up, i want to fix up old houses. ♪ [ woman ] when i grow up,
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the news this week has been pretty well grim. it's almost the weekend and you're looking for a little peace of mind tomorrow all you have to do is look up because if you do you could see something like this. tomorrow we're going to have a full moon. i know, happens once a month. but it's going to be a super moon. super moon is not a technical term. what it means is cool. the moon's orbit around the earth is elliptical so there are times when it is doing its waxing and waning being relatively far from the earth. when it's close to the earth it's called lunar

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The Rachel Maddow Show
MSNBC March 18, 2011 9:00pm-10:00pm EDT

News/Business. (2011) New.

TOPIC FREQUENCY Gadhafi 22, Libya 18, Yemen 12, Syria 12, Bahrain 9, U.s. 9, Walker 8, Us 7, Wisconsin 6, Tepco 6, California 4, United States 4, Benghazi 4, Fukushima 4, Japan 3, Michigan 3, Obama 3, Scott Walker 3, Pakistan 2, Ohio 2
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